SACRAMENTO, CA --- California legislators are considering a bill aimed at preventing body shops from "part switching," a practice in which a repairer charges a customer or insurer for an auto part that's never actually installed on the vehicle. The bill seeks to force body shops to provide copies of auto parts invoices to customers who request them, as long as the parts in question have a retail value of over $50.

The bill has drawn strong opposition from the California Autobody Association, which argues that existing state law already prohibits repair shops from installing parts other than those listed on the invoice.

According to the Legislative Counsel's Digest analysis of the bill, AB 2825 would "authorize the customer, as specified, to receive copies of invoices from the distributor, dealer, or manufacturer for all specified crash parts installed for which the customer is charged in excess of $50 and would require automotive repair dealers to provide these invoices upon request by the customer."

The bill requires that the first page of a body shop's itemized written estimate include a notice stating that "installing parts other than those described on the estimate without prior approval from the customer is unlawful and that the customer is entitled to receive copies of all invoices from the distributor, dealer, or manufacturer for each specified crash part."

The bill stipulates that all body shop work and parts installed must be clearly detailed on an invoice. The invoice must disclose whether any parts are used, rebuilt or reconditioned.

If passed, the bill would become law on Jan. 1, 2010.